Named By: Andrews - 1909.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Sauropterygia, Plesiosauria, Pliosauroidea, Pliosauridae.
Species: S. vorax (type), S. indicus, S. keileni.
Size: Estimated at up to 4.6 to 6+ meters lo, depending upon species.
Known locations: England, France and India.
Time period: Bajocian through to the Tithonian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Few specimens, best known from skulls.
its long history and broad geographic range, Simolestes
remains a little known pliosaur,
certainly no way near as famous as
the often over exaggerated Liopleurodon.
Simolestes does not have the
best fossil representation, but comparison to other pliosaurs has
yielded estimates of up to six meters long for the living animal.
would make Simolestes large
for the Jurassic
pliosaurs, with most larger forms like Kronosaurus
being known from
the Cretaceous (that said the pliosaur dubbed ‘Predator
X’ now reclassified as Pliosaurus
funkei lived at the end of the
Jurassic and was probably even bigger than
Simolestes is known to have enlarged teeth that grew towards the end of its jaws. In the first fossils these teeth point out to the sides, but this is generally considered to be a product of the fossilisation process (remember that sedimentary rocks which fossils are known from are formed by intense weight and pressure of the above layers pushing down on the lower layers). As such the teeth in the living Simolestes actually pointed up and down with some of the larger teeth actually pointing clear of the opposite jaw. This meant that all of the teeth intermeshed together when the jaws were closed which is seen as a specialisation for small and possibly slippery prey like fish and soft bodied cephalopods like squid. In fact the latter may have been the preferred prey type as squid hooklets (small hooks on the tentacles of some squid that help them hold onto their prey) have been found in association with Simolestes remains.
- On some new Plesiosauria from the Oxford Clay of Peterborough - Annals And Magazine of Natural History 4:418-429 - C. W. Andrews - 1909.
- Simolestes keileni sp. nov., un Pliosaure (Plesiosauria, Reptilia) du Bajocien supérieur de Lorraine (France) - Bulletin des Académie et Société Lorraines des sciences 33(2):77-95 - P. Godefroit - 1994.
- A large Rhomaleosaurid Pliosaur from the Upper Lias of Rutland - Mercian Geologist 2000 15 (1) - Richard Forrest.